Monthly Archives: November 2016

North Carolina May Finally Have An Election Result

Sitting governor Pat McCrory (R-NC) refused to concede the election for NC governor, which ended three weeks ago.  By the end of election day, current NC attorney general and Democratic challenger Roy Cooper was ahead by a little over 6,000.  But the results still had to be counted and certified, down to the last one.

If Cooper’s margin remained below 10,000 votes, McCrory could have called for a statewide recount, and with the possibility of other legal challenges and conceivably even legislative intervention to decide a contested result.

But today, as I am writing this, Roy Cooper’s margin of victory has now grown to over 10,000 reaching 10,329 in the latest count.

Governor McCrory’s election protests and allegations of voter fraud have been rejected by Republican-controlled board of elections, and Roy Cooper’s lead is now over 10,000 votes.

Will McCrory concede?

He may not have a choice anymore.

The OGE Is Trolling Trump

The Office of Government Ethics, which is responsible for ensuring executive branch personnel don’t run afoul of conflict of interest laws, has been pressuring Trump to place his fortune in a blind trust, like virtually every president before him. But Trump has thus far refused — and in his Wednesday tweetstorm, he purposefully did not say he plans on actually divesting from his own company.

That omission was not lost on whomever manages the OGE’s official Twitter account. Shortly after Trump’s announcement, the OGE shot off a series of tweets mock-congratulating Trump for putting his conflicts of interest to rest by divesting from his company, which Trump very much did not do.

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It is a little unusual for a government agency to troll a president-elect, and I suspect that the tweets will be pulled (which is why I screen capped them).  But still, gone on whoever is doing it!

UPDATE:

The Best Second Draft — And Possibly The Final Draft — Of Election 2016

David Roberts at Vox goes deep into the numbers, the graphs, and what everybody says about why Clinton lost and Trump won.  And he concludes…..

Turns out everything mattered

The most agonizing implication of the narrow loss is that everything mattered.

Every decision to hype Clinton’s emails. Comey’s extraordinary violation of precedent. WikiLeaks. Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches. Her refusal to dissociate from the Clinton Foundation. Her poor retail politics. Trump not releasing his tax returns. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan hiding out. Sanders tarnishing Clinton’s image among young people. Institutions standing by and doing nothing as Trump shredded democratic norms. The gamble that Trump’s misogyny and racism would render him unacceptable.

Fake news on Facebook. Epistemological bubbles. Elite self-absorption. Hot take after hot take delivered to the choir. Americans making the contest into a crass reality TV show fueled by Facebook memes. The press refusing to cover policy.

And whatever else you can name. The Electoral College turned on a 107,000-vote margin. All of it mattered. If you’re prone to haunting, crippling regret (luckily I don’t know anyone like that), that’s where you should focus your energy.

Yeah. Probably correct.

But that’s just one bit of one very long and entertaining article.  A must read for professional and amateur political scientists.

Trump Is Setting Up An Economic Boom For Him And His Friends

So this morning, we get this set of tweets from the President-Elect:

trumptweets11-30

This is, on its face, the first time, that Trump has acknowledged the appearance of a conflict of interest.  And that’s something.

But what is he going to be doing?  I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

Leaving his ownership stake to his children will hardly distance the president from his business interests, and would not satisfy the conflict of interest laws that govern the conduct of other elected officials. (Senators, for example, are forbidden from introducing or passing legislation that would further an immediate family member’s financial interest.)

Foreign governments will still take heed of the leverage that surrounds any dealings with Trump-brand properties and their co-investors; lobbyists and business leaders will know what credit accrues to playing on a Trump course or staying at a Trump hotel. This will be especially true if the Trump children continue to play their outsized role in diplomatic meetings.

And, finally, the president himself will never be “blind” to his own interests. After all, they consist mostly of fixed assets stamped with his name.

Meanwhile, we’ve got some more additions to the cabinet:

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Yeah. President-elect Donald Trump named Wall Street veteran Steven Mnuchin for Treasury secretary Wednesday, filling key slots on his economic team even as he announced plans to leave his businesses to avoid any conflict of interest. Mnuchin and billionaire Wilbur Ross were asked in a television interview with CNBC if they could confirm reports they had been named to lead the US Treasury and Commerce departments, respectively. Mnuchin, 53, is a former Goldman Sachs partner who was Trump’s campaign chairman and Ross is an investor who has made billions turning around distressed companies.

If you’re concerned even a little about income inequality, this is a gloomy day.  Corporate tax breaks, tax breaks for the wealthy, and even trickle down economics.

What’s the first action any new Treasury secretary should take when coming into a situation were cash-rich corporations are raking it in and pocketing the results while automation and wage-stagnation leaves workers behind? You guessed it.

“By cutting corporate taxes, we’re going to create huge economic growth and we’ll have huge personal income,” Mnuchin told “Squawk Box,” confirming he has been tapped for Treasury secretary.

Wilbur Ross is known as “the king of bankruptcy.”

Ross is a businessman in the mold of Trump himself. Known as a sharp negotiator, Ross became wealthy by spotting opportunity in purchasing bankrupt companies in declining industries such as steel, including LTV Corp. in Ohio and Bethlehem Steel in Pennsylvania. He is known for doing the same with failing mining company Horizon Natural Resources, restructuring it and selling it to Arch Coal in 2011 for $3.4 billion. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, he invested $1.8 billion in faltering banks, from Florida’s BankUnited to several European banks.

And Ricketts?  Depuity Commerce Secretary.  Cubs Owner.

These are rich guys, but not necessarily guys who understand the economy from a country standpoint.

So much for draining the swamp.

UPDATE:  He’s looking at ANOTHER guy from Goldman Sachs:

President-elect Donald Trump is considering Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn for a senior administration job, possibly as director of the Office of Management and Budget, several sources close to the situation said on Wednesday.

People familiar with the matter say Cohn’s meeting with Trump on Tuesday included talks about a potential job in the new administration, possibly to run OMB, a sprawling office that will handle much of Trump’s budget policy after he takes office in January…

People close to Cohn, an aggressive and imposing trading veteran, note that he has a reputation for attracting and managing top talent, a key attribute for any OMB chief.

What Digby Says, Part MCLVII

On Trump and Trump supporters being “sore winners”:

An incident in Brooklyn this past weekend illustrates the phenomenon. Two women in a restaurant were bemoaning the election of Donald Trump when a man and his wife sat down next to them and became incensed about what the two women were saying. The manager moved the couple to a different table and gave a meal without charge to calm the two down. But after leaving the restaurant the man stormed back in and punched one of the women in the face. He told the manager he wanted to kill her. (Fortunately, the woman was not seriously injured.)

This is just one random incident but it raises the question: Who gets that mad after winning? It’s not as if the two women were rubbing the man’s nose in defeat. Why would something so ordinary as complaining about the election cause a man to hit a stranger (a woman) in the face?

In fact, America has been divided along two moving tribal lines for a very long time, and this odd reaction has happened before when this political faction has come to power, although it doesn’t normally get this violent or ugly. The political right often seems to take little joy in its victories, instead remaining focused on its defeated enemies. Compromise is unacceptable: Right-wingers seem to demand total capitulation and when their adversaries continue to resist, they are enraged.
The best description of this phenomenon comes from Abraham Lincoln in his famous address at New York’s Cooper Union in 1860. Trying to explain how impossible it was to deal with the Southern slave states using normal democratic means, he asked, “What will it take to satisfy them?”
This, and this only: cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly — done in acts as well as in words. Silence will not be tolerated — we must place ourselves avowedly with them. Senator Douglas’ new sedition law must be enacted and enforced, suppressing all declarations that slavery is wrong, whether made in politics, in presses, in pulpits, or in private. We must arrest and return their fugitive slaves with greedy pleasure. We must pull down our Free State constitutions. The whole atmosphere must be disinfected from all taint of opposition to slavery, before they will cease to believe that all their troubles proceed from us.
This is why the right-wingers are so angry. It’s not enough for them to win. Those who opposed Trump must stop opposing him. We must agree that Muslims should be banned from entering the country, agree we should torture and kill suspected terrorists and their families, agree immigrants should be rounded up and deported, agree there should be guns in schools, agree women should be punished for having abortions and agree to all the rest of it. Until we stop resisting completely and declare that we are “avowedly with them,” they will continue to believe that “all their troubles proceed from us.”
That is not going to happen. Trump’s forces may have won the election but they have not won the hearts and minds of the American people who didn’t vote for him. And they won’t. This administration will be met with fierce resistance from millions of people, from the moment Trump takes office until the day he leaves. There will be no appeasing him, and no easing of his followers’ guilt for what many of them know in their hearts to be ugly and cruel impulses in consenting to this white nationalist program. It’s all on them.
Lincoln had this to say to his fellow Unionists about how to proceed in a situation such as this:
Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.
What else can we do?

Trump’s Newest Odd Tweet

I don’t know.  Maybe it was Castro’s death, and Trump missed being in the headlines.  But for whatever reason, he tweeted this:

This is extremely bizarre.  Is he really stinging from losing the popular vote?  Apparently.  Does he really believe that millions of people voted illegally (it is largely believed that Trump’s “source” is an Infowars tweet making the same claim)?  Apparently.

That’s just scary.

Maybe Trump was trying to protect HIS legitimacy as a “winner”, or maybe he is nervous about recounts.  But what he did was undermine faith in the election process — a process that benefited him!!  As I have said, “Well, if that is how the President-elect feels, lets recount and audit the whole thing!!”

The upcoming fact-free Trump presidency is going to be distressing.

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“I’m sorry, Jeannie, your answer was correct, but Kevin shouted his incorrect answer over yours, so he gets the points.”

She Seems Nice

Trump voter going on a tirade

This incident is the just the latest in a recent spate of obscene and racist tirades by Trump supporters. Last week a Trump fan abused black employees of a Miami Starbucks and over the weekend a viral video showed a Delta Airlines passenger screaming about “Hillary bitches.” Yesterday Delta apologized for not removing the man. Also this weekend a Colorado home supply store fired its manager for calling a customer a “faggot who voted for Hillary.”